This is the first of a two-part contribution from live sound engineer Eddie Caipo. Eddie will discuss MONs, FOH and Virtual Soundcheck and how he uses Avid live sound systems to handle some of the top artists in the world.
Hello Everybody! My name is Eddie “El Brujo” Caipo and I am a touring live sound engineer as well as a studio Engineer/Producer. Currently I find myself traveling the world with Enrique Iglesias as his Monitor Engineer. I have also been very fortunate to work with artists such as, Tears for Fears, Taio Cruz, the Kings of Chaos, Julio Iglesias and Smash Mouth just to name a few.
I got the call about Enrique Iglesias needing a monitor engineer in September of last year, and once that happened I knew this would require lots of preparation as well as attention to detail. I was immediately prepared to request my console of choice, an Avid Profile System. Lucky for me, that’s what they were previously using and made for a much easier transition into the gig.
Once I got that out of the way, I asked for the usual, Input/Patch list, stage plot, how many band members, any info pertinent to the gig etc. and immediately opened up the Stand Alone software and got to work programming the show. My first show, Pune-India.
I’m using 67 inputs,12 FX Returns and 36 outputs which puts us in the two Stage Racks and Two Snake Cards on the Local(FOH) Rack category(whew!). It may sound like a lot but believe me everything is being used and has a real purpose during the show.
At this point I was like…Oh Boy!… This is going to be a lot of work. But that’s the beauty of this, I was able to prep my console file, at home, on a plane, hotel or even at a venue during a break while at another gig. It worked out great.
First I started with all my input and output patching, naming inputs and outputs just to get a grip on where things were gonna end up before I started getting deep into EQ’s, Dynamics and Plug-ins. That part went pretty quick.
YES! another reason a Profile is my console of choice, is the ability to transfer the settings and/or presets that I have created through out the years with various artists or bands, into the console for easy access to them. That way I was able to have a pretty close starting point for Gain, EQ and Dynamics for drums, bass, keys, Wireless mics etc. Saving me an enormous amount of time dialing things in(we all know we don’t have a lot of that).
Specially if I use 0db as my reference. It was easy to set it up that way, so all I had to do when I had my first soundcheck (if any) was to adjust the gain slightly. But since I am a creature of habit, they were pretty damn close.
Another great feature is the drag and drop channel strip. I have used this quite a bit, for other acts as well as festivals. In fact given the amount of channels that we are using it allows me to have all the main channels for Enrique in one layer and even in one bank of eight if needed. Giving me full and quick access to those “money channels“ at all times.
I find that the on board EQ’s and DYN’s are really good and allow me to travel anywhere in the world, load my file and go. While still being able to provide my artists with the high quality sound that they are used to. So I try to keep it simple and apply most of my plugin processing consumption to Reverbs. Here’s what I use:
Female BGV Verb
SR Nylon Guitars
SR Steel String Guitars
SL Nylon Guitars
SL Steel String Guitars
Guest 1 Verb
Guest 2 Verb
Everyone in the band including Enrique are on IEM’s, all stereo. I am using a combination of Aux Sends and Variable groups for them. Plus for DJ Fractal, special guests, talkback mics and downstage pair of wedges(for Acoustic Set only) I am using PQ Mixes, which come in very handy.
If you haven’t used PQ’s yet, they are very useful. You can select a PQ mix to be a clone of one of Auxes or Variable Group mixes and also create a User Input for the PQ Mixer; which could be an input of your choice. Not to mention the use of PQ mixers which is a great option to explore as well.
This is one of my favorite features on the console, mostly because of the flexibility on the recall function. The SCOPE feature is great. Even though every time you hit STORE on a Snapshot it saves everything; the key element here is what you recall. So in the Scope section you are able to make that decision by choosing Aux Mon, Aux FX, Faders, mutes,Eq’s, Plug in settings etc. and your choices can also vary from snapshot to snapshot.
After working with the band on a few shows and a couple of sound-checks I started using Snapshots to store some minor changes in their individual mixes. Usually reverb levels or lengths, lead instruments up or down, more click for the intro of a particular song etc. But for the most part once set they are all good.
Enrique’s mix is on recall safe. I chose not to use snapshots with him because he is a very dynamic artist and changes are made on the fly constantly, so I found that it was much easier to follow him; so I opted for a live mix. Sort of a FOH mix but with click. He is very aware of any changes and we normally don’t have to alter his sound in any way. And thanks to Avid and their great features I can count on consistency at all times.